Courtesy of CareQuest Institute

Americans are not getting the dental care they need: New survey

April 27, 2022
Results of a new CareQuest Institute survey, released exclusively to DentistryIQ, indicate Americans rate oral health as critical, but that barriers to care persist.

Two years after dental care was disrupted for millions of Americans, many are still not getting the dental care they need and disparities in oral health care persist, according to the results of an annual national survey from CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.

CareQuest Institute released initial findings from the second annual State of Oral Health Equity in America survey, a nationally representative survey of adults’ knowledge, attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to oral health. The survey is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, with more than 5,000 participants and 170 questions.

Findings from the 2022 survey include: 

  • More adults identified cost as a reason they are likely to avoid dental care in 2022 (43%) than in 2021 (38%)
  • More than half of adults (55%) reported some type of oral health problem in 2022, similar to 2021 (56%). In both years, toothache, cracked or broken teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, and frequent dry mouth were the most frequently cited dental problems. 
  • 96% of adults know that there is a connection between the health of the mouth and the rest of the body

“These findings offer powerful insights into the state of oral health equity in this country—insights that we hope will inform advocacy, policy, technology advancement, and clinical integration to increase access for oral health care, especially for historically marginalized populations,” said Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. “In part, this survey confirms what we already know — our system does not work for everyone and deep-rooted health inequity exists across our nation. Too often, we don’t have the oral health data we need to drive systemic change. A survey of this size and scope is critical to the development of actionable steps to help transform the oral health system into one that is more accessible, equitable, and integrated.” 

CareQuest Institute will be releasing a series of in-depth reports in the coming weeks and months analyzing the results of the survey focusing on topics including the impact of discrimination on oral health access; dental anxiety; the oral health of specific populations, including veterans, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and American Indians and Alaska Natives; integration of medical and dental care; teledentistry utilization and experience; and more. 

Access the first report in the series, “Americans are still not getting the dental care they need